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‘We were misled’ – MDC members regret not grabbing farms

By Mutsa Makuvaza

SOME members of both the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa and the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora say they now regret missed opportunities when Zimbabweans were inspired by war veterans to grab farms from white former farmers at the height of the land reform some twenty years ago.

While the ruling Zanu-PF party urged its supporters and members to apply for farms under the land reform programme which as being fast tracked at the time, the MDC, then a vibrant and united opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai, openly vowed it would return the farms to the whites who were among its funders and sympathisers.

While the land reform as chaotic and used as a political tool by Robert Mugabe to entrench his rule and stay for longer in power, Zanu-PF supporters benefited and still stay on the farms, with the national sentiment now solidly behind the land appropriation that happened when the MDC was just being formed in 1999.

Tsvangirai, openly funded by defiant white farmer who pinned their hope on his getting into power, at one time chided the new farmers for “just waking up on the farms” like mushrooms and blamed the land appropriation for seasons of hunger that ensued after the land seizures.

But in a startling turn of events, Warship Dumba, who was Tsvangirai’s security aide, openly said he feels cheated by the opposition leaders who insisted against taking the farms.

Dumba, a Harare City Councillor, said most of the MDC high-ranking officials secretly took farms but hid them under the ownership of relatives to avoid the wrath of their supporters who they misled, and the white farmers who funded the party.

“I need a farm now. I was very stupid to be cheated by those who were pursuing the whiteman’s interests. Zimbabwe is my motherland,” said Dumba.

When the Zimbabwe Voice asked him if he would grab a farm should such an opportunity arise again, Dumba, who now is in the MDC-T, said he would go for it without any second thoughts.

“Myself and many other party members will definitely take a second chance because most of our leaders already have farms.

“We learned later that those in Standing committee ye MDC yaitambiriswa mari (by whites) but we, the low ranking members, were told off tichinzi being in opposition is about service and sacrifice. Each month vaitambira US$2000,” he told the Zimbabwe Voice.

Another member of the opposition, who is a vice president to Nelson Chamisa, revealed that the land reform was a missed opportunity.

“I was just a legislator back then with no higher rank in the party, but look, the land reform benefited Zanu-PF people because our opposition leaders were stupid. The mother of all ironies is that when Tsvangirai died, his children were allocated farms by Mnangagwa. But what of my children when I die?” worried the top opposition figure.

“The first MDC national executive of 1999 must hang their heads in shame for creating this situation where nearly every farmer supports Zanu-PF because we sided with our funders at the expense of our own people who have no land.

“Mugabe was no angel and the land reform was far from perfect, but which revolution was ever perfect?” said the top MDC Alliance official, requesting anonymity to avoid backlash from the party faithful.

Paul Saungwene, a long-time opposition supporter residing in the diaspora, told the Zimbabwe Voice that he regrets missing out on the land, adding that he knows many party colleagues who share his views.

Another MDC Alliance official, a former legislator for Zhombe from 2008 to 2013, Rogers Tazviona, said MDC policies of fighting other people’s wars have impoverished the average supporter while top party officials strike it rich.

“Tendai Biti was last week buying cattle from Temba Mliswa for his farm. Biti also previously bought farm equipment from a current Cabinet Minister. He counts among his clientele top Zanu-PF bigwigs and the country’s leading organizations.

“Yet policies crafted by him and fellow party leaders have impoverished us all down the MDC food chain. It’s a shame but we now have to look each other in the eye and never let the leaders take us down a garden path again,” said Tazviona.

Tazviona said he hoped Chamisa to lead the opposition with a brand of politics that clearly defines national interest matter and said there was nothing wrong at all to side with Zanu-PF where issues of national interest are at stake. – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺

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